Scotland's Coronavirus Levels System and How it Actually Works

Last Updated on 19/07/2021 at 10:00

Scotland has been using a system for tackling COVID-19 by allocating a 'level' between 0 and 4, which was also known as the Levels Framework. These levels can be applied nationally (across all of Scotland) or to different areas depending on the rates of COVID-19 transmission locally.

What is happening in my local area?

As of Monday 19th July, all Scottish Local Authorities are in Level 0.

In Scotland, there are 32 local authorities, if you're not sure what local authority you live in, you can use the Scottish Government Postcode Checker to find out.

Map of Scotland with a colour key showing the covid-19 restrictions each local authority is in

What's happening when?

All of Scotland moved to Level 0 on Monday 19th July. There are plans to move beyond Level 0 on Monday 9th August and remove the majority of the remaining coronavirus restrictions, though there would likely still be some in place along with public health guidance. Whether these plans go ahead will be confirmed the week before.

Find out what that means for where you live on our What Are The Rules Right Now? page.

What does each level mean?

Level 4

Within this level, virus cases would be at very high or rapidly increasing numbers, and there would be widespread community transmission which may pose a threat to the NHS to cope. In the case of the festive period 2020, local authorities were moved to Level 4 due to a new strain of the virus.

It is likely that this level would see the introduction of measures close to a return to full lockdown. Measures would be designed to be in place for a short period, to provide a short, sharp response to quickly suppress the virus.

Levels 2-3

In these levels, it's expected that the virus is more common, with multiple clusters and increased community transmission (person to person).

There would be a gradual series of protective measures to tackle the virus, focusing on key areas of risk – broadly, indoor settings where household mixing takes place with less, or less well-observed, physical distancing and mitigations.

The measures would be intended to be in place for relatively short periods (2-4 weeks), and only for as long as required to get the virus down to a low, sustainable level.

Level 0-1

Within these levels, a low incidence of the virus is expected with isolated clusters, and low community transmission (person to person).

These levels are the closest Scotland can get to 'normality', without a vaccine or effective treatment in place, before conditions will allow us to move to Phase 4 of the Route Map. They would be similar to the measures in place during the summer, once we reached Phase 3.

Levels 0 and 1 are designed to be sustainable for longer periods of time.

What if I had to shield before?

Scotland's Chief Medical Officer is writing to everyone who falls into the shielding category with advice of what to do in level 0 and beyond as Scotland has now moved into Level 0.

As Scotland changes local protection levels, you should follow the appropriate health advice associated with that level. You can find guidance on the Scottish Government's website.

More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19).